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Corn+Soybean Digest

Workshops Help Farmers Think Through Nitrogen Use

High nitrogen fertilizer prices are forcing crop farmers to think more carefully about how they use the input. A Purdue workshop series will keep their train of thought rolling down the tracks.

Purdue Nitrogen Management Workshops take place at five Indiana locations beginning Jan. 9. Registration is $20 and must be made in advance.

The workshops are intended to prepare farmers for the fertilizer decisions they'll make for the crop year ahead, said Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist and a workshop speaker.

"Nitrogen fertilizer is an input cost that has gone up dramatically, so we felt it was time to put together a half-day workshop that would focus on some of the issues surrounding nitrogen use," Nielsen said. "We'll talk about different sources of nitrogen fertilizer. We'll also talk about nitrogen use efficiency from the standpoint of how can we make the best use of fertilizer that we apply on the field? And then we'll discuss the new approach to thinking about nitrogen rate recommendations that folks have been hearing about."

Brad Joern, a Purdue Extension soil fertility specialist, will lead the session on nitrogen rates, Nielsen said.

"What's new is not so much the recommendations themselves but the way we think about them," Nielsen said. "We're moving toward a way of recommending nitrogen rates that is less dependent on yield level of the crop. For years, we've used the simple rule of thumb of about a pound of nitrogen per bushel of expected yield when you follow soybeans. We're moving away from that kind of philosophy to one that's going to give us a broad range of nitrogen rates that should be appropriate across a wide spectrum of soils in Indiana."

The workshops run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST. Topics and speakers include:

  • "Status and Future of the Nitrogen Industry" and "Fertilizer Math" – Jim Camberato, Purdue Extension soil fertility specialist.
  • "Nitrogen Loss and Nitrogen Use Efficiency" and "On-farm Research" – Nielsen.
  • "Nitrogen Sources" and "Regional Approach Status of Nitrogen" – Joern.
  • "Nitrogen Tools" – Sylvie Brouder, Purdue Extension soil fertility specialist.

Each workshop will end with a question and answer session featuring the four speakers.

Workshops take place at the following dates and locations:

  • Jan. 9 – William H. Daniel Turfgrass Research and Diagnostic Center, West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Jan. 11 -- Northeast-Purdue Agricultural Center, Columbia City, Ind.
  • Jan. 13 – Southeast-Purdue Agricultural Center, Butlerville, Ind.
  • Jan. 18 – Madison County 4-H Fairgrounds, Alexandria, Ind.
  • Jan. 20 – Southwest-Purdue Agricultural Center, Vincennes, Ind.

Workshop enrollment is limited. For a registration brochure and form, log onto the Purdue Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center (DTC) Web site at

For more information, contact Corey Gerber, DTC director, at (765) 496-3755 or by e-mail at [email protected] or Connie Foster at (765) 494-4773 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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